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The ATA spec includes a Secure Erase feature. Rather than using some piece of software to overwrite the data on the drive, this is a built-in command to erase any sensitive data off the drive. Running this on an SSD will erase all the pages, making them once again available for instant writing.
There are a number of "shredder" programs which ensure that any remaining data on a drive is overwritten with garbage data. HDDErase is an app which is specifically designed to run the Secure Erase feature built into drives, as opposed to simply writing random data over the entire disk. There are probably other apps with similar names which do specifically write random data on the disk, but this one doesn't.
1 Day ago I've used HDDErase 3.3, was a bit of a hassle at first. My laptop in ATA mode doesn't detect the SSD, my pc detects the SSD in ATA mode but can't pass through the secure command. So eventually I used another laptop (zepto), which worked flawlessy.
As long as you have a computer that supports the ATA Security pass through it's a walk in the park. The drive is very fast again, thanks for the replies people.
HDDErase.exe is in fact a proof of concept application published by the Center for Magnetic Recording Research at the UCSD. It was intended to demonstrate the operation of the Secure Erase feature in all standards compliant hard drives produced since 2002. It was never meant to be used commercially, and has a number of operational limitations that may inhibit the successful execution of the process.
Secure Erase is launched by presenting the drive with a sequence of commands which will lock the device and initiate the process. Unlike externally issued block overwrite software products, the process is controlled from the drives embedded controller, and is essentially a single pass optimized write process that CAN address all writable storage regions of the device, magnetic or solid state. However, before using SE one must be aware of the limitations of running SE in the host device.
1/ In order for SE to properly launch, the host must not have BIOS level protection that will inhibit SE from being passed on to the host controller. Many BIOS manufacturers have implemented BIOS level protection to avert the threat of any malware of virus that may exploit Secure Erase as a means to destroy data.
2/ If the device has Protected Service Areas the host controller must be Host Protected Area aware in order to address the HPA storage regions of the drive. This includes the DCO settings.
3/ HDDErase does not purge the G-List. The G-List should be zero'd before the utility is run, in order to process all sectors.
Essentially, the best way to purge a drive with Secure Erase is by using a purpose built appliance that has been designed to overcome these challenges. Although these may be costly for the home user, they are becoming more popular in government and corporate environments where the concern over releasing unprotected devices to external service providers is becoming a big concern.
As for the performance benefits of SE on Silicon storage devices, no one says it better than Anand LaShimpi in his March 2009 review on his anandtech dot com web site. Definitely worth the read.
If anyone is interested in a detailed guide titled 'The best practices for the destruction of Digital Data', co-authored with Dr. Gordon Hughes of the CMRR, I would be glad to offer any reader of this forum a personal use copy on request. Just fire me an e-mail